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Why we love our denim edit…


Rosie the Riveter flexing her muscles, cowboys riding into the sunset… we know that denim is fabric shorthand for cool and sass. More than that (and perhaps more like the rest of us), its hardwearing character means that a pair of perfectly worn-in jeans can feel like an old friend, a comfort that goes with an old t-shirt and a glass of something nice to signal you’ve reached the end of the week. This denim-y combination of hard working with comfort and freedom works for kids too – denim jeans and jackets feel like the weekend. After a week in school uniform, jeans allow young people to do all the rough and tumble they like (or just collapse on the sofa). And there’s really nothing cuter than a very little person in denim dungarees (Minions!).

But the cost to the earth of this wonderful fabric is… well just awful. The statistics are a bit overwhelming – gallons and gallons of water are used up and then contaminated for just one pair of jeans; rivers in China, Bangladesh and India, needed for basic drinking water and community life, are foaming with heavy chemicals from industrial cloth production (see RIVERBLUEto understand more). The story of indigo – a precious plant that originally produced the distinctive blue jeans colour – vividly illustrates how the fast-fashion jeans industry distorts systems of value and care for the earth. The master craftspeople of Nigeria and Japan (where indigo dying is a profound and sacred art; Japanese denim jeans are gorgeous) often keep their dye vats going for several years at a time. Working in harmony with plants, microbacteria and the sun, producers such as Aboubakar Fofana talk of how the cloth they produce reflects ‘the lifecycles of all the living things’ that work together to produce such beautiful shades of blue. Indigo dying is all about longevity and honouring the spirit of the earth and its peoples. It’s appalling to see the fast fashion industry take this process and treat it so violently; it harms all of our relationships with living things.

But we can begin to repair these damaging cycles by investing in and caring for pre-loved denim. When we choose a pre-loved denim garment, we take the piece back to the indigo spirit of renewal and lasting value, and we heal ourselves in the process! Denim really is the perfect pre-loved fabric – you don’t have to work at it to get that wonderful lived in feel, it’s beginning there already in the gently easing fibres. It makes so much sense for kids’ clothes – it is practical and hardwearing, it invites its wearer to climb and run, ride, scoot, skid along! It’s temperature regulating, perfect for going between seasons (or just dealing with an average day in Scotland…). It is so varied – not just jeans of course, but jackets (narrowing to the waist for a proto rebel, or channelling workwear with big pockets for all the bits and bobs kids collect and want to hand), fantastic dresses, smocks and throwovers that are smart and sharp, or soft and comfy in a chambray shirt. It’s priced at a cost that is right to spend on clothes for a small person who is only ever getting bigger… and it is perfect for customising with fabric pens, colourful stitches and patches – it is ready and waiting for your kids’ personalities 😉

We hope you love our denim edit this month – you can shop here online or in store. Pre-loved denim is good for the soul 💙

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All Illustrations by Ruth Craddock

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